The iPhone’s impact on global macroeconomic data, part 86

November 8, 2012
Mobile Web
November 8, 2012

Like a python slowly digesting a sizable wombat—that apparently doesn’t happen, by the way—the massive lump of money and goods that accompanied the launch of Apple’s iPhone 5 continues to register in recently published economic data. (As we recently reported, the launch  contributed a noticeable lift to the air cargo industry.)

Today’s reading on imports and exports from the US Commerce Department showed a 24% rise in imports of cellphones and related goods for September. That accounted for about 40% of the increase in goods imports for the month, according to economists at JP Morgan. Here’s a look at the spike.

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iPhone Spike in Imports
Yowza!(J.P. Morgan)

Of course, we already knew US consumers snapped up iPhones like crazy during September. But you can see it in other economic data too. Here’s a look at Taiwanese exports, which surged higher thanks to semiconductors and screen panels during September.

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Taiwan Exports

The surge in Taiwanese exports of semiconductors hit a record in terms of value. “We believe this was related to the launch of Apple’s iPhone 5,” wrote Barclays analysts.

But the bump in Asian electronics exports isn’t all Apple. For instance, the launch of new products from Samsung played a big role in a surge in Korean exports in September.

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Korea Upsurge

In fact, Samsung has increasingly been jostling with Apple at the top of the mobile device world. And that helps explain a chart that’s going in a decidedly different direction, despite the giant sales numbers for the iPhone 5.

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Apple Share Price
Apple’s share price is still up 35% this year. But lately, ouch.

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